Brothers in Arms: The Courageous Story of WW II's 761st "Black Panthers"
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Anthony Walton
AVAILABILITY: Out of Stock Indefinitely (Readily Available)
Publication Date: May 2004
Publisher: Broadway Books
Binding: Trade Cloth
Topics: UNITED STATES_ARMY_AFRICAN AMERICAN TROOPS; UNITED STATES_ARMY_BIOGRAPHY; WORLD WAR, 1939-1945_AFRICAN AMERICANS; WORLD WAR, 1939-1945_CAMPAIGNS; WORLD WAR, 1939-1945_REGIMENTAL HISTORIES; AFRICAN AMERICANS_BIOGRAPHY
Description: One copy left at this price.
I believe it is time for America to meet the men of the 761st, common men who grew to become heroes, black men who fought for a country that often hated them, stalwart men who overcame social injustice to become men of colorblind valor. This first-of-its-kind book will…help them take their place as member of the greatest generation.
With these brief, moving words, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sets forth the feelings and the goals that inspired him to recount the courageous story of the 761st in Brothers in Arms. Jabbar first learned the story from his high school mentor and friend, Leonard “Smitty” Smith, a veteran of the Battalion. Working with acclaimed writer Anthony Walton, they interviewed the seventy surviving members of the battalion as well as battalion members' descendants to weave together a page-turning narrative based on their memories and stories, from basic training through the horrors of the battlefield, to their post-war experiences in a racially divided America. By the end of the war, the 761st—which Patton initially spurned, claiming Blacks weren't quick enough to maneuver tanks in battlefield situations—liberated some thirty towns and villages, as well as a concentration camp.
Known as “The Black Panthers,” the 761st Battalion was the first all-black tank battalion to see combat in the war. While most American units fought on the front for one to two weeks before being rotated back, the courageous men of the 761st served for more than 183 consecutive days, fighting under Patton's Third Army at the Battle of the Bulge, helping to turn back the German offensive and cut off German supply lines. They were in the vanguard of the American troops that liberated the concentration camp at Mauthausen—an effort that eventually won them recognition from the State of Israel. All this was accomplished despite a casualty rate that approached 50 percent and an extreme shortage of replacement personnel and equipment.
The unconscionable racism that shadowed these intrepid fighters during the war (black combat units were sometimes referred to as “Mrs. Roosevelt’s Niggers” because of her efforts to persuade the military to allow them to serve in combat) and the prejudices they faced when they returned home is never far from the surface of Brothers in Arms. What shines through most of all, however, are the bonds that united them as soldiers and brothers, the bravery they exhibited on the battlefield, and the quiet dignity and patriotism that defined their lives.
Inspired by a World War II veteran and friend, the basketball legend recounts the courageous story of the first all-black tank battalion to see combat in the war. Interviews with surviving members of the 761st Battalion and their families weave together a page-turning narrative of horror and triumph.
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